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SENATORS (22-19-9) vs. LIGHTNING (29-16-5)
Ottawa 7-1-2; Tampa Bay 5-4-1
Sun Sports/RDS; AM 970 WFLA
While playing each other the most out of any team this season (five times) besides the Detroit Red Wings, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators, ironically enough, have faced-off just once this season, with the Lightning winning 3-1. Thursday's contest between the two is the last game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum until March 24, with games on January 30 and March 20 being played at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.
Losing a season-high five consecutive games at the Times Forum, the Lightning look to pick-up their first win at home since December 21. The Senators have won four out of their last five on the road, including outscoring their past two opponents 5-0.
LIGHTNING – Playing five games in seven nights last week the Lightning improved to 2-2-1 during the stretch after a 5-3 win in Carolina versus the Hurricanes Sunday. The win really put their physical and mental stability to the test however, as Carolina amassed 97 scoring attempts and netminder Ben Bishop stopped a franchise-record 48 saves in the victory in his second game in as many nights. In addition, the rest of the roster blocked a total 28 shots for a new season high and scored their fifth power-play goal in five games.
Tampa Bay managed the win without defenseman Victor Hedman (lower body), who returned to practice Tuesday and is expected to jump back into action Thursday. He said that while a blocked shot off his leg during Saturday's tilt was initially very painful, it responded well upon skating at the beginning of the week. Martin St. Louis was also absent from practice Tuesday due to illness.
SENATORS – Ottawa's Craig Anderson earned his third shutout of the season in a 2-0 whitewash of the Washington Capitals Tuesday night in the District. It was their first victory in a four-game road trip that features the Hurricanes and red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets in addition to the Bolts. Sitting six points behind the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division the wins must keep coming for the Senators, who have picked up points in seven of their last eight games (5-1-2).
It may have taken 34 games, but after scoring his first career NHL goal at 6:09 of the first on the power play Sunday, it didn't take Mark Barberio long to score his second for his first multi-point game of his career. With one assist Sunday Martin St. Louis is riding an eight-game point streak (eight goals, four assists) and was the NHL's First Star of the Week for the week ending January 19.
1/13 – Reassigned G Cedrick Desjardins to the Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
1/16 – Reassigned D Andrej Sustr to the Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
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